Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ju Hua for coughs and sore throats.

I remember once in grade school having a cough and my brother told me to drink my grandmother's chrysanthemum tea. He said every time he drank the tea his cough or sore throat would go away, just like my grandmother used to tell us. Til this day, I still drink it when I'm sick. I also happen to LOVE chrysanthemum tea, maybe partially because it reminds me of my grandmother too.

Chrysanthemums look like daisies and they originate from China. When brewed as tea they have a natural sweetness, but its also really good with sugar or honey.

Here are some of the health benefits:
  • Chrysanthemum tea is known to clear head colds and alleviate sinusitis pains. This could be due to the vitamin C content of the tea. It is also antiviral in nature and thus a reliever of head congestion which are often viral infections.
  • Head cold can also be pathogenic bacterial reactions. Owing to its anti-spirochetal qualities it can relieve head congestions. It is known to vanquish dermatomycosis, pseudomonas aeruginosa, shigella dysenteriae, staphylococcus aureus, streptococcus hemolyticus B and tubercle bacillus in the body.
  • Chrysanthemum tea naturally lacks caffeine which makes it resistant to caffeine-induced side effects such as anxiety, irritability and nervousness.
  • It is a natural coolant and so can bring down body temperatures in feverish conditions as well as heat strokes and also proves beneficial in curing acne and pimples along with stress headaches, gums with throbbing sensations and minor toothaches caused due to high temperatures.
  • It is used complementarily with the treatment of atherosclerosis or blocked cardiovascular arteries and varicose veins. Chrysanthemum tea benefits also include liver detoxification and reduction of soaring cholesterol levels.
  • Chrysanthemum tea is known for its stimulating properties and is thus used to refresh the brain and alert the senses. It energizes all the senses in a jiffy and also calms them down for better and clear perception.
  • Known to rid giddiness, the benefits of drinking chrysanthemum tea includes soothing sore throats and helping to cure red, itchy eyes, dry, fluid-deficient eyes, and dark spots in the eye region.
  • It fortifies the lung and solves respiratory glitches such as shortness of breath.
 Got this info from this link.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Take child's pose and stop trying to practice with socks on!

This morning I went to Yoga class to be in child's pose and downward dog. Seriously, what was I doing? I was way to sore to fully participate. I skipped so many poses (like most backbends) and had to full on rest after anything slightly hard. Any twists or binds felt extra painful and tight. I am either severely over trained and/or coming down with something. Lots of sneezing today. My point is, always check in with your body and see how its feeling. Rest when you need it. Some Yoga teachers push and push you but don't be afraid to say "no" when you know you've had enough. You know your body better than anyone else. I am a big believer in stopping an instructor who is going for a hard adjustment. It's not ok! Also, know when your body needs child's pose or doesn't want to do camel because it doesn't feel good. It was hard not to push myself when I wanted to today but my body thanks me for not abusing it.

Another notable thing in my Yoga practice this morning was that a woman who walked in well after the opening "om-ing" decided to practice with socks on. I don't know the woman, she is not a regular in class and I don't know her practice. I do know she was slipping all over her mat throughout class distracting the few people practicing around her. I kept hearing someone whisper "Jesus Christ!" throughout the class. I was focused on my own soreness and pain so I had no idea until a few people were talking about it after class. Socks Lady did a couple of things wrong here. 1- She wore socks to Yoga! I looked up a few times and saw her sliding around and moving her mat this way and that way. It must have been distracting for her and the people around her. 2-She showed up late to a crowded class in which people had to shuffle around their mats to fit her in. 3- She didn't check in with her body and take care of herself. Instead she allowed herself to get frustrated from slipping around and because some of the poses are kind of challenging. Maybe she needed a child's pose. 4- Jesus or calling for Jesus was doing nothing to help her but it was further distracting the people around her and not such a polite thing for the instructor. The people around her that she distracted in class were milling about after talking about it. Just a chain of negative stuff.

Ultimately we don't know the Socks Lady and why she wore socks to class. We don't know if she has had a terrible day, week or month, but there are two sides to every coin. If you're the one having a bad day...try not to spread it those around you. If you're the one in Yoga next to Socks Lady calling for JC and totally distracting you, realize she is going through something and although is annoying, might need some compassion right about now. Even if you're wrong and the woman is just a B.I.... remember, compassion is a big part of Yoga, so practice it as well as your warriors and sun salutations.

In conclusion, do not wear socks to Yoga. Even if they are "Yoga" socks. 'Cause the point is to be in touch with your body and find your own balance against your mat. You lose so much sensitivity for balance when you cannot directly connect to the floor. Also, yoga is meant to stimulate the nerves in the soles of your feet. :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Hearts in my belly

cause I ate them.

Vegan Hearts for Valentine's Day.

"Valentine's Day is a holiday created by Hallmark". I am so OVER people who post these kinds of things on FB and twitter or whatevers. Its all Debbie Downer hateration. I always spend the day -in a relationship or not -making heart shaped cookies and giving them to the awesome people in my life. Some of these people happen to be Vegan, which I am not. So this year I made a batch of vegan heart cookies :) The recipe was quite good and they don't taste "Vegan-y" to the non-Vegans. they were a pretty big hit!

So here I share with Vegan peeps and those who have Vegan loved ones in their lives:

Vegan Lemon Sugar Cookies


  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2/3 cup sugar + 1/4 cup
  • 1 cup earth balance or vegan margarine
  • 1/3 cup lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup silken tofu
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice, preferably fresh


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium sized bowl.
In a separate large bowl, beat together the 2/3 cup sugar, vegan margarine and lemon zest until smooth and fluffy. Add the tofu and lemon juice, and whip until well mixed, then add the flour, baking soda, and salt.
Add the flour mixture to the margarine mixture and stir until well combined.
Form dough into one-inch balls, and roll into the 1/4 cup sugar until well coated. Flatten slightly, and bake for 8-10 minutes, until lightly golden brown. ( I sprinkled sugar on top of the cookies when they were shaped, just before putting in the oven. This helped me control how sweet they would be.)

I will leave you with the felt heart guys my friend made...Happy Valentine's Day!


Friday, February 11, 2011


bomb dot com

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Need some heat...cause its cold in NYC!

Are you S.A.D.?

Suffering from Season Affective Disorder? Having trouble getting up in the mornings? When you do are you still groggy and tired? Feeling generally tired and low energy? Or just kind of depressed for no reason? Tendency to over sleep and overeat, craving the carbs! OK maybe you're not full on depressed but maybe you are sniffling through some lifetime movies, hell maybe you are watching lifetime movies in general. I always start to feel like my energy levels are depleted during the winter time. I live for the sunlight during the summer, so once my amount of sun is shortened, it affects me.

So here are some tips if you're feeling a little winter blues:
1. Get more vitamin D! OK maybe you're stuck in the office for those few hours of sun. Some vitamin D rich foods: fish, orange juice, milk, oatmeal, eggs, mushrooms and most cereals. Or maybe take some vitamin D supplements.

2. Get more iron in your diet. P.S. I am not a vegetarian nor a vegan Yogi. So #1 Iron rich food for me meat! Look I am not a big red meat eater but I know when I need it in my diet. A small lean piece of rare/medium rare beef will do. Don't cringe yogi's but liver! YUP...chicken, pork, beef. You get it. Its a good one. And for the veggies: beans, molasses, spinach, asparagus, kale, seafood, broccoli and whole grains.

3. Get enough sleep and don't lie in bed unless its bed time. Yeah I tend to do this bc I want to hibernate in the winter time. It tends to make me sleepier and also prone to bouts of insomnia.

4. Cut down on sugars and bad carbs. When your levels spike you crash and feel extra tired! Craving cookies? Try grapes or an apple.

5. Yoga and Cardio.Instead of sleeping in just get to that Yoga class, your body will thank you. Don't have an hour or 90min to spend on a Yoga class? Run for 20min.

Obviously if you're suffering from something more serious than low energy levels you should go consult a physician. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Xing Yi Nei Gong Exercises

Check out this link for a series of 16 health and longevity exercises created by Wang Ji Wu.

I was taking this class last month and it was pretty awesome. Somewhat of a moving meditation. The class is held on Tuesday nights 6-7pm at Thai Spirit.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Side crow and Ekapadakoundinyasana

Side crow or this variation of ekapadakoundinyasana is a good first arm balance to start with if you're a beginner. I definitely got my side crow down way before my regular crow. So I will go over the alignments and preparation for it.

1. Feet together, come to a squat. Hug the knees in and try to bring your heels all the way down to the mat. Don't worry if you can't! You're more likely to be able to if you have flexible ankles. More important that having your heels come down, keep your spine straight and long, back and shoulders flat.

2. Turn yourself 90 degrees to the right or left (whichever side you want to start on). Come onto the balls of your feet and bring your palms to meet in front of your heart. Try to stand up tall on the balls of your feet, feet still together, like a toe stand but on both feet. Let your knees come forward and try to parallel your thighs to the floor. Shoulders down and back, spine straight. Hold here for a breathe or two and try to find balance and stillness preparing yourself for balancing.

3. On an exhale twist your upper body towards the front of the mat, place your hands flat and square to the top of the mat, about 1 foots length away from you.

4. Bend the elbows backwards creating a shelf with your triceps and elbows.

5. Come high onto the balls of your feet, keep bending elbows back at the same time. You should be able to bring your knee and hip bone to the elbows...or at least just your knee.

6. Lean forward. Use your uddiyadah bandha or just engage your abs ALOT. Squeeze the belly in and look forward. Start to lift one foot at a time, flex both feet to lift even higher.

TADA! Side crow!

And now Eka pada koundinyasana variation.
Ok you feel good in side crow? Extend the top leg straight back and bottom leg (the one where your hip and knee are balancing on your elbows) out to the side. Keep looking forward. I sometimes use the back leg to find balance as it touches the ground behind me when I'm adjusting my positioning.

If you're more flexible when it comes to twists this will be easier for you. A major component here is twisting and being able to keep your shoulders and upper body square while your legs and hips are facing 90 degrees to the left or right. That gives you the ability to reach your hip and knees to balance evenly on your elbows. This is also a good starter pose because you can get comfortable with the idea of arm balancing and if you get scared or feel like you're loosing balance you just look forward and you can even put your head on the ground to help with balance at first.

1. Strengthens your wrists, arms and core.
2. Relieves stress and anxiety while balancing.

Don't do this pose if:
You have wrist problems, carpal tunnel syndrome or are pregnant.

Thursday, February 3, 2011